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WRC 8 – Review
Rally Turkey is the racing game equivalent to a Souls-like level. Its steep difficulty curve from a wide track start line to the smallest roads with rocks everywhere as your red-white machine barrels towards the finish is something to behold. And then it starts to rain…
WRC 8 is BigBen and Kylotonn’s master-craft after a two-year hiatus and the work that they have stride for most definitely can be seen throughout this game.
So the question lies, how does it stand when compared to it’s closest rival? Quite close, really.
The main attraction for this year’s WRC game is their new extensive career mode. This starts by asking if you want to enable Permadeath mode (known as Permacrash for racing game reason) and I roll with that.
It takes a more interesting approach that’s similar to Codemaster’s F1 games where you can sign for a team and built their stats towards your liking.
Perhaps you want your damage cost to reduce, you can invest in the Crew tree to do that or you want to not fly off the road too much, invest in better suspension within the car section.
These types of selections could tailor players towards their own choices in their playthrough and is handled quite well. You can even hire/fire crew members in your pursuit of rallying dominance.
But, the meat and potatoes of this game are of course the cars and it’s various stages. The graphics have been improved greatly from this department, with cars now sounding visceral and the stages, when covered in rain, snow, and fog. Deadly yet beautiful as you visit the official stages of the series within the main series and their junior categories like Turkey, Wales, and Germany.
But my only gripe is that the game is running in 30fps on consoles, a small matter as it is a solid framerate throughout the game but could be improved upon for next-gen.
A racing game’s core is definitely the handling model and it’s fair to say that WRC’s 2 years hiatus has paid dividends. The handling model is now quite enjoyable to drive around compared to its last few counterparts and could say the handling rivals the likes of Dirt 4’s version of Sim handling but is more enjoyable on a controller than the latter.
The damage model has been tweaked to be more realistic as well so you might see yourself having to stop to change tires once or twice if you play on Permacrash mode.
Another cool feature is the game’s dynamic weather, where any stages the further you go in the career mode (or setting it yourself!) could lead you to be sliding across roads as the gravel/mud/snow could be paved in rainwater or engulfed in fog. A neat touch towards having a more realistic experience as you really can’t see anything.
But one thing that still feels could be improved upon in the next installment (perhaps in the Next Gen) is a new co-driver voice. I feel that the co-driver (at least for the English version) is quite robotic and at times, stiff, and due to this, I might have missed a few road calls that lead to a Skoda barreling down a cliff because I didn’t hear a “Keep middle”.
A newer co-driver or even a new female voice ala Dirt series could make it better.
Besides career mode, the other modes aren’t quite as enjoyable to play, with the multiplayer being a bit barren when I was testing it and two-player mode is more fun than MP due to the insanity of doing a stage with extreme weather is, of course, extreme fun.
But I believe that the quite in-depth career mode could see players play longer than expected.
And, for our Malaysian readers: The Proton Iriz R5 is hecking fun to drive.
WRC 8 is one of those racing games that I could see myself replaying lots of time and since my last time playing this series was back in 2012 on a 360 pad, I could feel the difference straight away after not coming back for 7 years.
The newer WRC cars, which include WRC2 Junior and Pro series that handles differently and with better stage designs, it was nice to return back to something fun again.
WRC 8 is the definitive edition for the series so far, with its new addition that helps it bridge the gap towards its main rival. It’s perhaps the rally game you could pick up if you want a change of (fast) pace.
Review is based on the version 1.03 and played on a PlayStation 4 Slim. Review copy provided by BigBen Interactive